Eredivisie leaders Ajax welcome relegation-threatened Willem II for a clash at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Thursday evening (8pm kick-off).
Erik ten Hag’s men are unbeaten in seven, winning five of those contests, whilst their visitors find themselves in the bottom two with just two wins all season.
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Where to watch Ajax vs Willem II on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 2
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Ajax 2-0 Willem II
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Ajax vs Willem II build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Before the winter break, Ajax dropped two points at relegation-threatened Willem II, thus blowing this season’s Eredivisie title race wide open. It remained the case when they came from 0-2 down to draw 2-2 against championship rivals PSV, but since then Ten Hag’s side have put together a three-game winning run, consequently giving them a three-point lead. Considering their superior goal difference (+46) you may as well give them an extra point. FC Twente (1-2) and the aforementioned PSV have prevented the Amsterdammers from ending their 2020/21 campaign with a flawless 100% record at home. The chances of Willem II producing another upset remains low.
That’s because Willem II have not been travelling well. Heading into this showdown, Adrie Koster’s side have picked up three points from 27 available on the road. Two of those points came at Emmen (1-1) and RKC Waalwijk (1-1), their fellow strugglers at the bottom. Willem II, who sit in the relegation zone albeit four points adrift of safety, previously visited two clubs with championship aspirations; a 3-0 loss at PSV was followed by AZ running out 5-3 winners, interestingly the game in Alkmaar saw them go 0-2 ahead.
- Ajax (vs Fortuna Sittard): Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Gravenberch, Klaassen; Antony, Labyad, Tadic; Haller.
- Willem II (vs Willem II): Brondeel; Owusu, Holmén, Peters, Heerkens; Köhlert, Llonch, Selahi, Ndayishimiye; Wriedt, Pavlidis.
Lassina Traoré returned to action with Ajax’s reserve team but is not expected to feature with their first-team this week. Sean Klaiber (groin) meanwhile remains absent for Ten Hag’s side. Miquel Nelom and Robbin Ruiter are the only players unavailable for Willem II when they visit the Dutch capital on Thursday evening.
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Player to watch: Sébastien Haller (Ajax)
Things couldn’t have got off to a better start for Sébastien Haller on his Eredivisie return. The former West Ham marksman created a goal on debut against PSV before registering his first Ajax strike at FC Twente several days later. Haller would then set up Ryan Gravenberch for the only goal in their Klassieker win over Feyenoord and his good run continued at Fortuna Sittard when he scored the Amsterdammers’ winner. In doing so, Haller became the second player to score or assist a goal in each of his opening four Eredivisie games for the Dutch champions this century since Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, though sporting director Marc Overmars will be hoping the French-born Ivorian international enjoys a far more stellar career in the Dutch capital.
Eredivisie 2020/21 recent form:
- Ajax: WWWDD
- Willem II: LDLLD
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